Chocolate Protein Sweet Potato Waffles

Chocolate Protein Sweet Potato Waffles

Sweet or savoury? Why not both! Thanks to Raimee Leigh’s latest kitchen creation, you can now enjoy everything you love most about peanut butter drizzled waffles, without compromising your health and fitness goals. Containing Evolve Lipo Whey chocolate protein, sweet potato, a pinch of cinnamon and cacao powder, and your favourite toppings, who knew waffles could be as healthy as they are delicious?

 

Ingredients:

 

Method:

  1. Preheat a well-greased waffle maker on a low setting.
  2. Place all ingredients into the bowl and mix until all ingredients are combined.
  3. Pour batter into the waffle maker and cook for approximately five minutes or until the outside is reasonably crispy.
  4. Once ready, top with your favourite healthy ingredients. Raimee Lee topped hers with chocolate peanut butter, banana and raspberries!

When it comes to reaching your fitness goals, there are fewer things more important than fuelling your body with the nutrients your muscles require to recover, repair and grow. As such, incorporating a premium quality protein source into your diet is important for ensuring your gym efforts are matched equally during your downtime. On that note, let’s talk all things Evolve Lipo Whey!

Evolve Lipo Whey contains 32 g of high-quality Whey Protein Isolate, Concentrate and Caseinate to provide a combination of fast, moderate and slow digesting protein to encourage optimal recovery and to help keep you satiated for longer. Additionally, Evolve Lipo Whey also contains L-Carnitine, L-Glutamine and Green Tea to further support fat loss by helping your body convert fat stores into a source of energy during and after training, while simultaneously helping to maximise energy and promote cellular detoxification. Inositol has also been added to the formula to boost mental alertness and clarity to help you maintain motivation and drive while in a calorie deficit. Did we mention that Lipo Whey makes the perfect post-workout shake or meal replacement?

The importance of training through an injury

The importance of training through an injury

Injuries are inevitable, whether in the Gym or in any sporting activity. People often become unmotivated, scared and quite reluctant to set foot back into the gym as they are worried about  reaggravating it again or they simply become inactive and lazy. Most people fall into the mindset that they must cease all exercise in order to heal and recover. Recovery is the priority but how long should you rest for until it becomes a habit and you’re too lazy to exercise again?

Injuries happen

Everyone gets injured and it is unavoidable at times. Whether it’s a minor or major injury, you should refrain from being sedentary as there are many alternatives that could still allow you to be active – depending on the injury and its severity. Frequent and low impact exercises such as walking, or cycling can help maintain your fitness levels without affecting your overall recovery. By doing some physical activity, you will not fall into the trap and overtime become a victim to laziness. Being lazy is a choice but choosing to make that choice becomes a habit and before you know it, you’ve lost all motivation to be the best version of yourself again. To overcome an injury, you must work around it and find ways to adapt.

The key to managing injurie

The first thing you should do when encountering an injury is seek professional advice. They will be able to provide you with a parameter to how much you can and should exercise. A key factor to dealing with injuries is to work around it by finding variations and alternatives that will not affect the injured site. This will avoid falling into the trap of being sedentary. Lifting weights is one of the best methods. What? Weights! You must be thinking how am I supposed to do weights if I’m injured? Well, continuing to do strength training will be beneficial for both preserving your muscle mass and fitness levels.

For example, you have injured your shoulder and cannot train upper body for a while. Instead of sitting at home and watching Netflix, you should take this opportunity to focus on your lower body. Whether its light intensity with resistance bands or kettle bells, you are still allowing your injury to recover but you are not allowing your mind to adapt to being sedentary.

Not only is your physical health important but so is your mental health. When working out, your body releases endorphins and other chemicals which work together to make you feel good. Most of you go to the gym to destress from a long day at work but once that outlet is taken away due to this injury, you will become frustrated. The key to recovering effectively and efficiently is to not rush the process. Staying positive will provide you with the motivation and determination to overcome this setback.

What are the key points to consider?

The first step to take is to redesign your current program to suit your needs and work around the injury. By implementing alternative exercises, you are still able to continue your progress in the gym and not become a victim to laziness. Seek medical help to know what you can and cannot do in order to nurse your injury back to full strength.

The most important take home message is to take your rehab and prevention very seriously. Most of you will jump back into the intense training you’re use to, once you feel that the pain has gone away. This is the most common mistake that people make as it will increase the risk of re-injury. Like with anything you do in the gym, the best course of action is to follow the plan. Research has shown that those who stay positive throughout their rehabilitation will increase the rate of recovery. Therefore, instead of using it as an excuse or as an obstacle, use this time to focus on any weaknesses you may have. Happy training 😊

How To Get Over The Easter Binge

How To Get Over The Easter Binge

Have you spent the last four days eating and drinking until your heart’s content? Never fear, all is not ruined. See below for some quick tips to get you back on track smile

 

The long weekend Easter provides is a great time to catch up with friends and family, have a few beers and gorge on chocolate. Unfortunately come Tuesday reality sets in and you may be feeling a little flat after all that alcohol and sugar. Not to worry all is not lost. You can get back on track by just following a few simple steps. The key here is to act fast and not let a loose weekend turn into a loose week.

1. Make sure you’re well rested

Everybody feels like crap after missing a few hours of sleep. Sleep is super important to our overall well-being. Lack of sleep impacts our bodies serotonin, ghrelin and leptin levels. Having these three out of balance is going to play havok with your hunger levels. To combat this make sure you catch up on any sleep you missed over the long weekend.

 

2. Stay hydrated
Yes I know you’ve heard this on pretty much every article relating to your health but it’s brought up so often for a reason. H2O helps the body dissolve minerals and nutrients making them more accessible. It also helps remove waste products in the body… Water is vital for our kidneys to function properly and if your kidneys aren’t functioning properly waste products and excess fluid will start to build up. Iin short ensure that you’ve been providing your body with the water that it deserves!

 

3. Double down on the veggies
You want to be running at a slight caloric deficit for the week to make up 4 the weekends indulgence is. An easy way to do this is double down on your portions of vegetables. Not only is this going to increase the nutrient levels in your meals but it’s going to make you feel Fuller when eating resulting in you consuming less calories.

 

4. Avoid skipping meals!
This is probably the most important one. The worst thing you can do right now is skipping meals and starving yourself. If you do this energy levels will inevitably drop, you’ll be less likely to spend time training and your metabolism will suffer causing you to hold onto fat stores and calories. Do not skip meals.

 

In conclusion it’s great to let your hair down from time to time and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. But now that the week has begun don’t let a great long weekend turn into a sloppy couple of weeks.

5 Tips to Up-The-Ante on Your Sleep and Recovery Game

5 Tips to Up-The-Ante on Your Sleep and Recovery Game

Tired of training hard with little to no results to show for it? Perhaps it’s time to rethink your approach to sleep!

When it comes to rest, it’s no secret that most of us simply aren’t getting the quality of sleep our bodies require to grow, repair and function at their best. So, what’s the big issue? From work-related stress to caffeine loaded diets, sleep – or rather, the lack thereof – is a leading contributor to adverse mental health problems and a lack of progression in the gym. Believe it or not, a lack of quality sleep not only stunts your body’s ability to recover and subsequently to grow after a training session, but it also plays a pretty serious role in impacting energy levels, mental wellbeing, immune health, motivation, cognitive function, weight loss, digestive health, libido and fertility…just to name a few!

If you’re keen to up-the-ante on your sleep and recovery game, check out Australian Sports Nutrition’s top five strategies to improve your quality of sleep in order to optimise your recovery and productivity, in and out of the gym.

 

  1. Cut down on caffeine

We just heard a thousand hearts shatter as they read the words “cut down on caffeine”. However, like all things in life, moderation is key…particularly when it comes to caffeine. While caffeine is a hugely beneficial ingredient for enhancing energy levels, cognitive function and ultimately, workout performance, it can have a negative effect when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep.

As a general rule, we recommend cutting your caffeine intake at least 4-6 hours before bedtime. Wondering why? Caffeine has a half-life of roughly five to six hours, which means it will continue to circulate in your body long after you feel the immediate effects. Simply put, a half-life refers to the time required for the amount of any specified property to decrease by half.

But, what does this actually mean?

Let’s say you take a pre-workout supplement loaded with 300mg of caffeine at 5:30 pm to get you feeling mentally alert and ready to take on an intense workout. Believe it or not, by 10:30 pm, as you’re winding down or already in bed, you will still have approximately 150mg of caffeine in your system. While you may not necessarily feel the energy-boosting and focus-enhancing benefits, the caffeine is likely to prevent you from having the highest quality sleep that’s required for optimal recovery. To put this into perspective, you can expect around 95 mg of caffeine in your average cup of coffee!

Trying to cut out caffeine but struggling to keep motivated and focussed in the gym? Try Evolve’s stimulant-free pre-workout formula designed to assist with weight loss and performance, while simultaneously boosting cognitive function. Introducing: Carnitine Rx!

  1. Control your exposure to light

Did you know that your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark, as opposed to when it’s light?

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone influenced by light exposure that plays an important role in regulating your sleep-wake cycle. Simply put, your brain produces more melatonin when it’s dark, which makes you feel more tired, and less melatonin when it’s light, which makes you feel more alert. While this seems like a flawless system, the reality is that many aspects of modern day life can easily alter the body’s production of melatonin, which ultimately impacts how our body regulates our natural waking and sleeping times.

The solution? Minimise your exposure to artificial lights at least one hour prior to bed. You may have heard about the benefits of switching off all electronics in your room while you sleep, and there is certainly some truth behind it. In this day and age, the artificial light emitted from our smartphones, TVs, laptops, light bulbs and iPads is disrupting our body’s natural cyclical release of melatonin, which impacts our ability to switch off, unwind and relax (three core requirements for a good night’s sleep). If, for whatever reason, you are required to use electronics at nighttime, try the following tips for minimising your exposure to artificial light:

  • Opt for a device with a smaller screen
  • Turn down the brightness on your devices
  • Try not to read with backlit devices
  • Avoid late-night television

 

  1. Get your carbs in at night

Consuming carbohydrates prior to bed helps to increase the production of the neurotransmitter, serotonin. The result? High levels of serotonin at night helps to soothe your brain into a calm, tranquil and relaxed state, which in turn helps you to enjoy a restful night’s sleep.  All in all, the higher the amount of serotonin in your bloodstream at night time, the better quality sleep you’re likely to experience.

We know what you’re thinking…”won’t carbs at night make me fat!?”

Short answer: Nope!

Carbohydrates alone will not make you fat, just like any other food group. However, consuming an excessive amount of calories that exceeds your body’s daily requirements over an extended period of time certainly will. Just like we said earlier, it’s all about moderation!

Let’s elaborate on this point further…

With regards to your carbohydrate consumption, the best way to ensure it fits into your dietary requirements is to plan your intake across the day in accordance with your personal needs. As a rule of thumb, aim to consume 40-50% of your daily carbohydrate intake in the last meal you eat before bed to maximise the benefits of elevated serotonin levels.

 

  1. Find your routine

Thought set bedtimes were only for kids? Think again!

Believe it or not, having a set sleep schedule in place may be the difference between you tossing and turning all night long or you feeling well rested and recovered in the morning.

Can it really make that much of a difference? The answer is YES!

Going to bed and waking up at a similar time each day sets your body’s ‘internal clock’, which essentially alerts your brain when it’s time to rest and when it’s time to rise. Sticking to the same sleep schedule every night allows your body to find its natural rhythm and to settle into a regular sleep-wake cycle. It’s as simple as this – If you have an inconsistent sleep schedule that throws off your internal clock, you won’t feel or function your best. In fact, an inconsistent bedtime routine is known to cause irritability, drowsiness, mood swings, memory loss, headaches, and a decline in cognitive ability. Additionally, people with irregular sleeping patterns are more susceptible to experiencing a restless night’s sleep, which means your body isn’t able to enter the deep REM sleep required to restore and repair your brain and body. This poses a very real threat to those who work out regularly, but aren’t getting the consistent sleep they need to repair their muscles overnight!

Top tips for scheduling in a set bedtime:

  • Plan out your week ahead and incorporate a set bedtime each night
  • Set daily and weekly goals i.e. how many hours of sleep would you like to achieve each week?
  • Switch off the TV and turn your phone to flight mode at least 1-2 hours prior to jumping into bed
  • Limit your social media time – Scrolling through Instagram can be a serious time waster and an ineffective way to wind down at night
  1. Supplement with Hyper Sleep

 

Tired of waking up feeling tired?

Struggling to have a restful night’s sleep?

Sick of seeing your gym results fade away?

Hyper Sleep may be just what you need!

Whether you’re short on time, struggle to change your schedule to incorporate more effective sleeping patterns, or are simply tired of watching the hard work you put in at the gym fade away due to a lack of sleep, Hyper Sleep is a potent sleep aid designed to induce a deep anabolic sleep to enhance muscular recovery through protein synthesis and human growth hormone release.

Why is sleep so important for muscle recovery? A lack of sleep makes it much harder for your muscles to recover, repair and grow post-workout as it slows down the production of growth hormone. Additionally, it also impacts your body and brains ability to function optimally to get the most out of your workouts!

But Where Do You Get Your Protein From? What people need to understand about vegan diets!

But Where Do You Get Your Protein From? What people need to understand about vegan diets!

If you’re a vegan, you’re probably sick of hearing “but where do you get your protein?

It may come as a surprise to some, but meeting your protein (as well as all other nutritional) needs on a vegan diet is actually really simple and cheap!

Great sources of vegan protein include: beans, chickpeas, lentils, tofu, tempeh, edamame, quinoa and many more. Not only are most cheaper than their meat or dairy alternatives, but they also come packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants!

Contrary to popular belief, a vegan diet actually has many benefits, and if followed correctly, can make it a lot easier to ensure your hitting your vitamin and mineral goals.


However, there are a few things you should consider and be aware of if you’re looking to go, or are already a vegan. You need to make sure they’re getting enough , calcium, iron, zinc and especially vitamin b12.
Vegan diets are particularly low in vitamin b12 as it is mainly found in meat products and very few natural sources. While it is also found in sources such as mushrooms, you’ll be much better off supplementing vitamin b12 or opting for fortified foods, as a deficiency brings some serious health risks with it. A lack of vitamin B12 can lead to anemia and blindness. It can also cause muscle weakness, tingling, and numbness .

This is by no means a fundamental flaw of the vegan diet, or that other diets are superior in this sense, but in the modern sterilised world, vegans are absolutely at a greater risk of getting a vitamin b12 deficiency. Vitamin b12 is naturally only created by bacteria and thus only found either in soil or untreated water. However, in our day and age, you’re unlikely (of course not impossible) to meet your b12 needs by relying solely on those sources and you might also incur other risks / costs. Why run the risk when supplementing with b12 is just very cheap insurance?

How to not break your back when Deadlifting

How to not break your back when Deadlifting

The Deadlift is often regarded as dangerous and the cause of all back pains, but is it really? Are you someone that is suffering from bad posture, sitting at an office desk all day or want to build muscle whilst gaining crazy strength? Famously known as the “king” of all lifts, the Deadlift is one exercise that you should be implementing into your program if you aren’t already doing it.

What are the benefits?

Well, one of the many benefits of performing deadlifts is it targets multiple muscles in your body at once. This one exercise will target your hamstrings, glutes, lower and upper back. You will also build a core of steel due to your abs and erector spinae being engaged. When that many muscles are being engaged and utilised, from the thigh to the core to the neck, it will release hormones such as testosterone, endorphins and growth hormones which means you will be in building muscle, burning fat and in feeling in a better mood.

Dangers of Deadlifting…

Without learning the proper technique, you risk the chance of injuring yourself. The deadlift is a hip-hinge movement which means you should avoid rounding your back, which is the cause of most back pain that people experience when performing the exercise. No other lift is as devastating on your Central Nervous System as the deadlift, which means you should avoid trying to go heavy each workout or doing high amounts of reps as it could burn you out for up to 5 days. You can often get away with a bad deadlift, but it will be very straining on your body and recovery may take a few days.

Things that you should avoid…

Make sure you are not creating flexion at the trunk, which will result in rounding of the back. Don’t start the lift with the bar away from your shin as this will not engage your hamstrings and glutes properly and could cause your hips to rise too fast. Don’t lean too far forward as this will allow the bar to swing forward, creating momentum to cause your whole body to shift forward and increase the risk of injury.

What you should remember…

Always remember to engage your Lats by retracting your scapula as this will ensure that you are in the starting position with a straight back. Keep the bar close to your body from the start of the lift to the end as this will allow you to maintain control throughout and reduce the chances of injury. Learn how to brace your core properly by breathing deep into your diaphragm and not your chest. When you feel your stomach expand instead of your chest, you are doing it right. Bracing will allow you to stay tight throughout the whole duration of the lift and engage your muscles properly.

How often should you Deadlift?

Since the Deadlift is such a demanding exercise on your nervous system, it only needs to be performed max 2 times a week. If you are doing high reps, stick to a low weight to ensure that your technique is spot on and that you don’t reach exhaustion on one exercise. If you are an intermediate to advance lifter, doing 2-3 sets of good quality reps is the sweet spot.

Are Cheat Meals The Key?

Are Cheat Meals The Key?

Cheat meals are often thought of as the dark and evil temptation in a dieting phase, that are sure to ruin all the progress you’ve made. But are they really? If you find yourself unable to stick to your diet, constantly falling off due to cravings and temptations ending in a cheat meal and finding yourself back at square one, then incorporating strategic cheat meals into your diet might just be the thing you’re missing.

 

But won’t a cheat meal ruin all my progress? Not if it’s scheduled into your diet and you know how to incorporate it! What most people fail to understand is that it all comes down to balance – not just the cliché saying but actual calorie balance. For example, if you know that you get cravings on weekends or you want to enjoy a pizza with some friends, you simply need to work out what your weekly calorie balance needs to be in order for you to drop weight. Then roughly equate how many calories your cheat meal will be and eat a little bit less either the day before, the day after or even the entire week leading up to the meal to meet your weekly calorie target – be flexible!

 

If you’re one prone to falling off your diet, doing this and actually incorporating cheat meals into your diet will ensure that you stay on it and continue making sustainable progress. It’ll give you something to work towards and look forward to throughout the week, making the dieting phase a lot easier and enjoyable. You won’t have to shut yourself off at social events by declining to eat out and won’t miss out on anything. Best of all, it won’t leave you with any regrets after – it’s easy when you know how!

The key to a consistent training schedule is… inconsistency?

The key to a consistent training schedule is… inconsistency?

Most people stress about finding what the optimal weight training schedule is or the ideal routine to keep them consistent and let them achieve they’re goals. For most, it might actually be the last thing they think of – inconsistency! Sounds counterintuitive right? But inconsistency and variety might just be the thing you’re missing, and Dukes is here to show you why.

 

First, we should outline what WILL actually get you results and what needs to be in place in ANY training schedule. It’s progress. You should always be striving for progress inside and outside the gym. That means weights used in the gym should be increasing and your scale weight should be progressing in the direction you want it to – whether that’s weight gain or weight loss.

 

Now that we’ve cleared up what’s needed to achieve your goals, we should go through how to best make consistent progress and not fall off. You might’ve guessed it, it’s inconsistency and variety! You cannot go into the gym doing the exact same things, exact same exercises, exact same weights day in day out. You need to add a variety of exercises into your training regime.

 

If you constantly try to progress at the exact same exercises, you’ll quickly stall, become demotivated and fall off. You shouldn’t expect to progress an exercise or body part, when you’re constantly hacking away at the exact same movement pattern, tendons, ligaments and muscle fibres. Throughout the week or even fortnight, you should have a variety of main exercises you’re looking to progress at and rotate through. By having this rotation, you’ll ensure that you’re always getting better, progressing, achieving your goals and staying motivated. Keeping track of numbers and logbooking is the key here. If you can physically see the numbers increase, it’s sure to motivate you like nothing else will.

 

The same concept can be applied in the kitchen of course, have a variety of meals that you enjoy and can rotate through to keep cravings and temptations at bay.

 

So, to sum it all up, if you’re looking to not fall off your training schedule and keep at it, you might just need to add some inconsistency to your training and diet. If you’re struggling to progress, give this a shot and see how you go!

Dirty Bulks Are A Waste Of Your Time – Here’s Why

Dirty Bulks Are A Waste Of Your Time – Here’s Why

What is a dirty bulk?

Dirty bulking has seen a constant rise and decline in popularity within the weight training scene over
the years. A traditional dirty bulk refers to going all out in terms of putting on weight when trying to
gain muscle. No mind is payed to where the calories come from – the general rule of as much as
possible applies. Typically, the bulker will opt for very calorically dense foods such as fast food,
lollies, ice cream and neglect any vegetables to fit in more. The dirty bulk bro won’t pay attention
whether it’s fat or muscle, as long as the scale increases from day to day, week to week, it’s a win in
his eyes! But is it really a win?

 

Why do people do it??

Sure, speedy weight gain and always being in an overfed state have their perks in the weight room.
Who doesn’t mind strength gains and massive pumps? The bulking bro will inevitably make gains
when focusing on progressive overload and being consistent with his routine, but there are a couple
of caveats to consider when opting for this method of muscle building.

 

The Problem!

At some point, the trainee will get to a point where he’s reached a level of bodyfat that leaves him
feeling uncomfortable, lethargic, with no appetite and some nasty consequences typical for high
levels of bodyfat. Constant sweating, feeling nauseous during training sessions and bad skin, just to
name a few – yum!

Now comes the bulking bro’s time to shine. It’s time to finally shed all the accumulated fat and
reveal the muscle he’s worked so hard for. This is where the problem starts. To get back down to a
decent level of bodyfat again, he’ll have to either cut very aggressively for an extended period of
time, or diet for at least twice as long as he’s been gaining for – it’s not uncommon to have to diet
for an 8-10 month period after making this mistake. This means that no matter how diligent you are
with your diet, you are bound to lose muscle.

 

What you should do 🙂

In conclusion, you are way better off at trying to make progress in the gym by only running a slight
calorie surplus of ~300cals above maintenance and focusing on progressively upping your lifts in the
weight room instead of going all out in the kitchen. This way you’ll ensure minimum fat gain with
near max potential muscle gain and you won’t have to diet for very long once it’s time to shred
down – meaning there is exponentially more time for you to be in a surplus and make gains instead
of being in a deficit, losing them and spinning your wheels by constantly fluctuating up and down in
weight. So stop wasting your time and opt for patient, consistent progress!

 

If you want a more in depth review of a dirty bulk, click here:
https://www.strongerbyscience.com/being-strong-is-not-an-excuse-to-be-fat-and-being-fat-is-
probably-holding-you-back/

 

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